Category Archives: Ryogan Chronicles

What year is it again?

Being an author sometimes feels like constantly living in the future. Five weeks before book 1 of #RyoganChronicles releases, I’m digging into the first draft of the final book of the trilogy. Here’s to hoping I can close out Khya’s story with the same explosive force it started with. ?

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We’re at the six week mark, y’all.

We’re at the six week mark, y’all. SIX WEEKS UNTIL ISLAND OF EXILES!

Hahaha no I’m not nervous, why do you ask?! Okay, I’m lying, but I’m still here to talk more about Island Of Exiles!

I mentioned last week that Island Of Exiles changed a lot between the proposal Kate Brauning bought and now. That’s an understatement, honestly. SO MUCH changed it’s hard to think about it as the same book.

Unexpectedly, one constant was a character: Tessen.

FYI, he’s based on a teenage Christian Keyes.

Tessen popped onto the page when I was writing the first draft, and he immediately surprised me. Somehow. It’s strange to see a character you’re creating as mysterious, but that was Tessen. Mysteriously intriguing. Tessen demanded page time, and he got it, slowly becoming a much more important part of the story than I’d planned.

After I sold the series to Entangled & Kate Brauning gave me notes, there was basically an earthquake on the desert island. Major pieces of the world rearranged, the language shifted, & everything (& everyone) got a new name. EXCEPT TESSEN.

Not only did Tessen’s name remain when so much changed, it became the basis for my language & naming conventions. For those who don’t know, tessens are Japanese iron bladed fans. Heavy, beautiful, & dangerous. (YouTube | Wikipedia) I named Tessen after this weapon, and I loved both the sound of it and how well it fit his character. Because of this, he became the linchpin to my worldbuilding. The names of everyone and thing else shifted around him.

I’ll talk more about the languages in Island Of Exiles another week, but I will say this now: Tessen was the catalyst for them.

After writing him in 2 books, I can’t say Tessen is as mysterious now as he was at first, but I am no less intrigued. Hopefully, when you meet him in a few (ONLY SIX!) weeks, you’ll be just as in love with him as I am.

Be prepared, though. Khya might fight you for him. 😉

 

Meet Tessen! Order Island Of Exiles.

Buy it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books-A-Million | IndieBound

Add this book on Goodreads.

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Seven weeks to Island of Exiles!

Did you know? Island Of Exiles is only SEVEN WEEKS AWAY! Each Tuesday until then, I’ll talk about my immense love for this world.

This week? Why fantasy at all? My existing backlist makes it obvious I enjoy writing other things, so why this? And why now? Most of the picture books I best remember (like Strega Nona & Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like) included magic.

My Dad read Hobbit to me and introduced me to movies like Willow and The Princess Bride. It was all lovely & fascinating. When I could pick my own books, I gravitated towards the ones with magic and adventure and plausible impossibility. I discovered Tamora Pierce early, & she quickly became my first ever favorite author. Tortall & Evelyn were places I lived in. I read my way through a lot of what my library (and, later, various bookstores) had to offer me, and I loved the beauty of it all.

Fantasy is familiar novelty, safe adventure, a testing ground for new theories & thoughts, and an escape that can teach you about reality. Anything can happen in a fantasy world so long as you ground it in the reality the characters know and accept. The scope of that is awesome.

When I was in high school, it finally occurred to me that I could try writing one of those books I loved so much. I had NO idea what I was doing, so what I ended up with was thinly veiled, unfinished, nonsensical Tamora Pierce fanfic. I should point out that I didn’t know what fanfic WAS, but somehow I still managed to write it.

After college, I tried again. My first novel attempt was more paranormal than fantasy, but I grabbed a new fantasy idea fast. That book isn’t #IslandOfExiles, but they’re connected. They exist in the same world, and I could absolutely bring it back in. But CollegeWIP didn’t work either. It was too big, too complex, and too much for baby author Erica. I put it aside. Reluctantly.

Then, I wrote. More paranormal and more contemporary. I learned. I grew. Eventually, I had a new idea. But could I write it? Fantasy was still a great love of mine, but the writing of it had become a scary, impossible target, one I wasn’t sure I could reach. But I *REALLY* wanted to create a sweeping fantasy, and that desire was stronger than my fear of getting it wrong. So I grabbed this new idea, remembered everything I loved about fantasy, and tried one more time to build my own universe.

What I came up with then is only partially what you’ll get a chance to read in February. So much changed as the book developed. Things that didn’t? The Nevada-like setting, the militaristic society, the style of magic, & the sibling bond at the story’s core.

What Kate Brauning saw in the original mess of a proposal I gave her I will never understand, but she helped me make real a dream. Island Of Exiles is the achievement of a goal I set in 2001. It’s taken me FIFTEEN AND A HALF YEARS to finally have my fantasy world.

We’ll let that number sink in for a moment.

Fifteen. And a half. YEARS.

I don’t know what will happen once the Ryogan Chronicles trilogy is out and done. I don’t know if I’ll write more in this world. Maybe one day I’ll find the right spark to help me create an entirely new world with a new system of magic and new social issues. Maybe Ryogan Chronicles will be it for me in fantasy, my one shining, magical moment in the annuals of fantastical history.

All I know if that in seven weeks, my first fantasy baby will be out in the world, and I am BEYOND excited to share it with you all.

Visit Shiara! Order Island Of Exiles.

Buy it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books-A-Million | IndieBound

Add this book on Goodreads.

Three books, three tours.

2016 has been a dumpster fire in so many ways for so many people, and I would really love to start 2017 on a positive note. To that end, I’m running paperback blogger tours for three of my books: Discord, Nemesis, and Island of Exiles.

To participate, there are only two big qualifications: 
1) Own or contribute to a YA review blog
2) Be willing to mail the book to the next on the list

Readers will be invited to mark up the books, highlighting favorite passages or writing notes in the margins, and the book will get sent back to me at the end of the tour to be kept as a special keepsake. Additionally, all participants will get special behind-the-scenes info on the book they’re reading AND they’ll get the chance to vote on what content they see. As an added bonus, bloggers who are willing to coordinate one of the tours will receive a special gift from me when the tour ends!

Right now this will be US only, mostly because I can’t ask one blogger to cover the cost of shipping overseas. HOWEVER, if there’s enough interest, I’ll buy a copy through Book Depository for a separate international tour.

Signups open today, Monday December 12, 2016, and they’ll stay open for more than a month with the books getting shipped to the first participants just before the new year. The tour itself will continue for several months to give each reader time to enjoy the book and get it sent off to the next blogger.

If you have any questions about the tour, email me!

ASSASSINS: DISCORDMore Info | Signup Form
ASSASSINS: NEMESISMore Info | Signup Form
ISLAND OF EXILESMore Info | Signup Form

Coming in 2017!


In the first two months of 2017, I close out one series and immediately launch a new one. I can’t wait for both of these very different books to be out in the world!

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Look what I got!


How do you know you’re working with amazing people? They send you a freaking ornament with your book cover on it! Thank you SO MUCH, @bethany.robison! I’m actually excited to put up my Christmas tree now. ?

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From Island Of Exiles…


A quote from the upcoming Island Of ExilesAttraction is instinct, but action is a choice.

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